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So I am at the end of the first season, and I notice there's a bidding war going on for Anthony Duclair and Valentin Zykov, both free agents.

There's two issues with that, the first is that the teams that held their rights didn't sign them before the rights expired, that really shouldn't happen with high quality prospects outside of very rare exceptional circumstances. The second is that they are available as unrestricted free agents, when as unsigned prospects two years removed from their draft year they should be re-entering the draft.

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I have seen the same. However, I think that might be an issue that hit me at the end season 2. I agreed to contracts with my 2 top prospects but the board cancelled them because they felt they were "unrealistic". So then since I did not sign them by the deadline the because UFAs. I suppose the same might happen for AI teams, because at least in Duclairs case the Rangers were struggling with the cap too.

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I have seen the same. However, I think that might be an issue that hit me at the end season 2. I agreed to contracts with my 2 top prospects but the board cancelled them because they felt they were "unrealistic". So then since I did not sign them by the deadline the because UFAs. I suppose the same might happen for AI teams, because at least in Duclairs case the Rangers were struggling with the cap too.

Duclair is with Arizona now, both in-game and real life. So the cap isn't the issue.

To add to this, another one that came up for me is Haydn Fleury, who is another very good prospect.

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Duclair is with Arizona now, both in-game and real life. So the cap isn't the issue.

To add to this, another one that came up for me is Haydn Fleury, who is another very good prospect.

Oh right, I totally forgot about the Yandle deal. Anyway, it could still be a budget issue (rather than salary cap)

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Fair enough on the budget aspect, I have my doubts that's it but who knows.

At the very least the OP is right, the players should be re-entering the draft if they are refusing to sign.

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Short term and long term personnel/franchise management needs to be looked at. I've seen a lot of teams placing a player on waivers the day after acquiring him via trade.

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